The Most Important Thing

the most important thing
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the most important thing
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Photo credit: Strauss Western

Imagine you’re on your deathbed. You’re probably deep in thought about your life – what it all means, who you’re leaving behind, wondering if they’ll be okay, realizing finally what’s actually important to you. You’re probably feeling existential.

But I can tell you what you’re most likely not thinking about…

Your Spotify stats.

How you could’ve improved your music marketing.

Whether you should’ve ended that one song on the 1 instead of leaving it hanging on the 4.

You see, when you zoom out, these things don’t matter.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t focus on the little details right now. Those are important.

But these little things – the seemingly small decisions – tend to hold us back. Or I should say, we get stuck because of our inability to make those small decisions.

Because as musicians today, we literally have endless options. 

We could go on tour. We could stay at home and produce other artists. We could get into sync licensing. We could focus on performing live. Or we could do a combo of these things.

Then within those options, there are more options. And within those, even more.

For example, as a music producer, I could add any number of instruments, elements, and melodies to a song. But I have to make decisions at some point. I have to say no to some things. I have to choose what is best for the song.

And in the same way, you have to choose what’s best for you, what’s best for your music career.

Here’s what I’m getting at…

It’s all about the music. 

Now, I know that’s a cliche answer. That’s a phrase you hear many bands and musicians utter as they fail to reach their goals.

But truly, the reason we continue to make music is for the feeling music gives us.

And that’s what I mean by “it’s all about the music” – those feelings that only music can make rise to the surface.

When it comes to what type of music to make, writing songs, performing songs, and even making career decisions, listen to your intuition.

We don’t give enough credit to our gut feeling. But your instinct is part of you just as much as your intellect is.

When you’re deciding what direction to take a song, you have to ask yourself, “How does this make me feel?”

When you’re deciding how to perform a song live, you have to think if you’d enjoy it or not.

Even when you’re deciding which direction to take your music career, you must listen to your gut.

This will help you stay out of business deals you’re not fully into. Your intuition will help you stay on the career path you actually want.

As Derek Sivers says, it’s either “hell yes!” or “no.”

Because the most important thing is what music gives us. It’s how the music makes you and others feel.

Music has power over us. It can literally change what emotion we’re feeling at any given moment. And you, as a musician, wield this power over yourself and others.

Wield it wisely and for good.

Because when you’re in your last days, it’s more likely you’ll be thinking about the impact your music had on people rather than how you could’ve had a stronger “brand,” or whatever. You’ll be thinking about what music meant to your overall fulfillment in life, not how much money it made you.

You’ll smile and think, “I did have fun, didn’t I?”

Being a musician is all about the music and how it makes us feel. That’s the most important thing.